Tennessee Highway Patrol Announces Results of 2013 Jefferson County Bus Crash Investigation
NASHVILLE –- Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott today joined members of the agency’s Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) to announce the results of the bus crash investigation that killed eight people last October in Jefferson County. District Attorney General James Dunn of the fourth judicial district, Mayor Alan Palmieri and Sheriff Bud McCoig, both of Jefferson County, and Brad Phillips, the county’s emergency services director and one of the first on the crash scene, were also in attendance.
The three vehicle crash occurred at approximately 2 p.m. (EDT) on October 2, 2013 on Interstate 40 westbound near mile marker 423 in Jefferson County. The investigation indicates that a 1997 Metrotrans Europa Motorcoach, owned by Front Street Baptist Church of Statesville, N.C., was traveling eastbound on Interstate 40 in the left lane when it sustained a left-front tire failure that caused the driver to lose control. The bus traveled into the median, struck the cable barrier on the westbound side of I-40, continued through the cable barrier and hit a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 2014 Volvo tractor trailer. The bus came to rest on its right side.
There were eight fatalities as a result of the crash. The church bus carried 18 occupants, five of whom were ejected and fatally injured and one who died inside the bus; one of the three occupants in the Tahoe was killed, and the sole occupant, the driver of the tractor trailer, died in the crash. Fourteen people suffered injuries.
“This was a tragic event that claimed the lives of eight individuals by no fault of any one person. We tasked local troopers, members of our Critical Incident Response Team and Criminal Investigation Division to conduct a thorough investigation that found no evidence of impairment on any drivers involved in the crash, no evidence that the drivers were distracted and no evidence that the bus was not well-maintained,” Colonel Trott said.
“This tragedy was the result of blunt force impact to the front tire that weakened its internal structure and caused the tire’s failure. There was no evidence of any pre-existing condition to the tire,” he added. “It was an accident and we continue to keep those affected in our thoughts.”
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure that our state is a safe, secure place in which to live, work and travel; enforce the law with integrity; and provide customer-focused services professionally and efficiently.